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Subject: Adhesives for wallpaper

Adhesives for wallpaper

From: Paul Storch <paul.storch>
Date: Monday, March 22, 1999
Vicki Warden inquired about an adhesive to use on delaminating
newspapers that were used as wall covering in a historic house.  As
an objects conservator for a large state historical society that
also owns living history properties, I have had to treat a very wide
range of objects and materials, including 3-D objects composed of
paper and other cellulose-based materials.  With the risk of going
out on a limb and horrifying my paper conservator colleagues, I will
suggest that you "shift paradigms" and consider using a
solvent-based adhesive in this case.  It sounds like you have
exhausted the possibilities of the water-based class, without

Solvent-based adhesives such as the Paraloid series are used by
objects conservators on basketry materials.  A wad of wood-pulp
newsprint on the wall of a house certainly has more similarity to
laminated wood and bast fiber materials than it does to a Japanese
print on fine paper.  I've used Paraloid B-72 in acetone to adhere a
Japanese paper backing to a 1920's radio speaker cone composed of
mechanical wood pulp fibers in order to stabilize it for repair and
fills.  That treatment was successful, and there were no tide marks
from the solvent.  I have also successfully used solvent based
adhesives such as Butvar B-73 in ethanol and the PVAc series in
various solvents for repairing basketry materials.  B-72 in acetone
works very well for the repair of birch bark.  I have tried using
rice starch paste for the application of backings for tear repair
and have had problems with tide marks.

Have you considered a PVAc-emulsion wood-glue type adhesive for the
wall covering?  Even though it is water-based, you are less likely
to have problems with tide-marks.  Paper conservators will gasp at
this suggestion as well, to be sure, but again, consider the
situation and the long-term needs of the object (which is the house
as a whole).  You'd have to get creative with clamping set-ups, but
it should work.  Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Paul S. Storch
Objects Conservator
Daniels Objects Conservation Laboratory (DOCL)
B-109.1, Minnesota History Center
345 Kellogg Blvd West
St. Paul, MN  55102-1906
Fax: 651-297-2967

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:75
                  Distributed: Tuesday, March 23, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-75-001
Received on Monday, 22 March, 1999

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